Posted: 3:17 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013
By Will Shelton
As longtime readers of this site will know, we (and especially I) defended Derek Dooley until it was absolutely no longer reasonable to do so (in my case late October of last year). We did the same for Lane Kiffin every single day of his tenure, and will do the same for Butch Jones. We like rainbows and sunshine and the color orange, and that tends to come across here in more ways than one.
So now we're moving on with the new guy, and he's moving along quite well, thank you very much. Spring practice will conclude with the Orange & White Game two weeks from Saturday, and then we'll go into the long road of offseason optimism, which will either be tempered or enhanced by whatever happens when things actually count next fall. Either way, it's Year One because this coach is actually good at math, among other things, and Year One is always a good year for the relationship. There is grace, there is hope, and there is new.
New was needed around here, not because the old was so familiar this time around but because the old was so bad, Kiffin in leaving and Dooley in staying. And so when we invoke humor, we do so not because we told you so. We didn't, least of all me. But the thought is, if/when Butch gets this thing going forward again, none of us are going to want to spend time looking back at how bad it was. Believe me, I've been writing for this website since shortly after Kiffin's hire, and I'm really eager to see what it's like to write about a good football team. We all are.
So if we're not looking back later, why not now? There's no point in anger, much of which was already spent in the fall of last year anyway. There's also no point in being the Chicago Cubs - we're not cursed, and if we are there are 116 programs with fewer all-time wins more cursed than we are. We don't embrace losing and call it lovable. But history is fascinating, and the last five years haven't been boring. In the quest to #RiseToTheTop, step one is admitting you're at the bottom.
The bottom is easy to define in general but more fun to deal with specifically. The best medicine is winning, but that's not available until the fall. So until then, laughter remains the best medicine. Some of it hurt then and still does. But some of it, at some point, you just have to laugh. Are we there yet? Let's find out.